[aprssig] RE: Question on history of HF APRS

Robert Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Fri Feb 22 10:37:15 CST 2008

> But then, doesn't an APRS transmitter make a 
> one-way transmission? 97.221 doesn't authorize 
> that specifically. 

Ah, thanks for the opportunity!:

Welcome to the unfortunate derailed and off-track popular
culture view of APRS...

APRS was always a network.  It was always a channel where all
participants shared ALL digital information relevant to the
local situation and all activities going on in Ham radio.
Stations with new information transmitted it to the net, and
everyone in the net received it for capture and consistent
display to all viewers.

An APRS transmission is no more a one-way transmission than a 2
meter commuter keying up in the morning commute net and saying
"I am stuck in traffic on Route 50"...

When GPS and vehicle location was *added* to APRS in 1993, is
what began the long downward spiral of missinformation and
missunderstanding.  As some follow-on simplistic "software" was
written to "plot vehicles on maps", the concept of APRS as a
two-way real-time distribution of informaiton among OPERATORS
was undermined and these days, the casual observer only sees
fixed "icons on maps" with no other attributes and has no clue
of the original mission and value of APRS.

See a summary of how wrong this simplistic view of APRS has

Every APRS operator has got to get his fellow hams to STOP
thinking about APRS this way, and to start using it for
something OTHER THAN vehicle tracking, or we are going to FADE
AWAY because HAM Radio's APRS "tracking" can't do everything
that the latest "tracking" cell-phone or gizmo from Circuit City
can do.

HAM radio is COMMUNCATIONS.  And that is BETWEEEN Operators with
something to communicate.  And in our dwindling ranks, the best
thing to communicate about in my opinion is EVERYTHING else
going on in HAM radio.  Meaning:

If you are doing anything in HAM radio (right now in real time),
put out an announcement, or OBJECT, or position, or comment, or
STATUS alerting all the other participants in your area, so that
they too can participate in -ham radio-...  APRS is not an end
in itself.  It is simply supposed to be the DATA SHARING channel
for ALL of HAM radio activities.

On the other hand, APRS clutter of things going on out of area
and beyond immediate value to local users is SPAM...

And thanks for asking!


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